March 16, 2017

Book Short – Blink part III – Undo?

Book Short – Blink part III – Undo? I just finished reading Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, and honestly, I wish I could hit Life’s Undo button and reclaim those hours.  I love Michael Lewis, and he’s one of those authors where if he writes it, I will read it.  But this one wasn’t really worth it for me. Having said that, I think if you haven’t already read both Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink (review, buy) and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (review, buy), then it might be worth it.  But having read those two books, The Undoing Project had too much overlap and not enough “underlap” (to quote my friend Tom Bartel) – that is, not enough new stuff of substance for me.  The book mostly went into the personal relationship between two academic thinkers, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.  It also touched on some of the highlights of their work, which, while coming out of the field of psychology, won them a Nobel prize in Economics for illuminating some of the underlying mechanics of how we make decisions. The two most interesting pieces of their work to me, which are related in […]


June 4, 2015

Book Short: Blink Part II

Book Short:  Blink Part II Years ago I wrote a post about Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book, Blink (post, buy).  While my post has lots of specifics in it for entrepreneurs, for VCs, and for marketers, my quick summary was this: Where The Tipping Point theorizes about how humans relate to each other and how fads start and flourish in our society, Blink theorizes about how humans make decisions and about the interplay between the subconscious, learned expertise, and real-time inputs.  But Gladwell does more than theorize — he has plenty of real world examples which seem quite plausible, and he […]


November 26, 2013

Book Short: Triumph over Adversity

Book Short:  Triumph over Adversity In truth, Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, was a bit of a disappointment.  I thought his first three books, Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, were fantastic, and I routinely refer to them in business.  David and Goliath isn’t bad, it’s just a little light and hangs together a lot less than Gladwell’s other books. I just read a scathing review of it in The New Republic, which I won’t bother linking to, mostly because the reviewer was on a total rant about Gladwell in […]


March 14, 2013

Luck Matters (and You Can Only Make Some of It)

Luck Matters ( and You Can Only Make Some of It) There was a great article recently in the Financial Times that’s worth reading here.  (Warning – you might have to complete a free registration in order to read this article.)  The premise is that most outliers, to use Malcolm Gladwell’s term, achieve their super status at least partly through luck.  And once that status is achieved, the good things just pile on from there.  This concept is as much Gladwell’s as that term is. I always say that “you can make your own luck.”  And to some extent, that’s […]


January 27, 2009

Book Short: Long on Platitudes, Short on Value

Book Short:  Long on Platitudes, Short on Value I approached Success Built to Last:  Creating a Life That Matters, by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson, with great enthusiasm, as Porras was co-author, along with Jim Collins, of two of my favorite business books of all time, Built to Last and Good to Great. I was very disappointed in the end.  This wasn’t really a business book, despite its marketing and hype.  At best, it was a poor attempt at doing what Malcolm Gladwell just did in Outliers in attempting to zero in on the innate, learned, and environmental […]


November 16, 2006

Counter Cliche: Connected at the Top

Counter Cliche:  Connected at the Top Fred hasn’t written an official VC Cliche of the Week for a while, but his post yesterday on Connectors is close enough — in it, he talks about how he likes to be a good Connector between people and thinks it’s a quality of great VCs. First, we should give credit to Malcolm Gladwell for a great definition of Connectors in The Tipping Point.  Gladwell not only defines Connectors as Fred has but also defines two other types of people who are critical in the social networking/buzz building arena:  Mavens and Salesmen.  I’d argue […]


January 16, 2006

Book short: Proto Gladwell

Book short:  Proto Gladwell I’m sure author Robert Cialdini would blanch if he read this comparison, but then again, I can’t be the first person to make it, either.  His book, Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion, is an outstanding read for any marketing or sales professional, but boy does it remind me of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Blink (book; blog post).  Of course, Cialdini’s book came out a decade before Gladwell’s!  Anyway, Influence is a great social science look at the psychology that makes sales and marketing work. Cialdini talks about sales and marketing professionals as “compliance practitioners,” […]


August 8, 2005

A Ball Bearing in the Wheels of E-Commerce

A Ball Bearing in the Wheels of E-Commerce As an online marketing professional, I’ve long understood intellectually how e-commerce works, how affiliate networks function, and why the internet is such a powerful selling tool.  But I got an email the other day that drove this home more directly. When I started my blog about a year and a half ago, I set myself up as an Amazon affiliate, meaning that any time someone clicks on a link to Amazon from one of my postings or on the blog sidebar, I get paid a roughly 4% commission on anything that person […]


July 6, 2005

Book short: Blink

Book short:  Blink Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, is a must read for marketers, entrepreneurs, and VCs alike, just as is the case with Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point. Where The Tipping Point theorizes about how humans relate to each other and how fads start and flourish in our society, Blink theorizes about how humans make decisions and about the interplay between the subconscious, learned expertise, and real-time inputs.  But Gladwell does more than theorize — he has plenty of real world examples which seem quite plausible, and he peppers the book with evidence from some (though hardly a complete […]